In these times when readers are responding to our books “more than ever,” when our authors—including Richard Blanco, Imani Perry, Robin DiAngelo, Dina Gilio-Whitaker, and Bettina Love—are appearing in the media, their ideas going viral on social media, their voices being heard on so many platforms, we thought it might be good to take a break to focus on some of the staff who work hard to find, shape, edit, produce, and promote those works. Our blog series “Beacon Behind the Books” introduces to you a member of our staff and gives you a behind-the-scenes look, department by department, at what goes on at our office. And not only our staff, but our interns, too!
This month, we introduce you to our editorial intern, Jude Casimir!
What drew you to publishing, Jude? How did you find your way to Beacon?
I’ve always loved reading, but I came to realize that the publishing industry’s lack of diversity was shaping the types of books that were picked up and being pushed on readers including myself. As a queer Black disabled woman who only rarely saw myself represented well or represented at all in my favorite medium, I got fed up and decided that I guess I gotta be part of that diversity myself. I want to eventually become a novelist or some other type of professional writer who gets to tell my own stories about characters that may be marginalized but are also fully realized, and I’d also like to help open and keep open and possibly even break down the doors for other writers like me to have that chance as well. Which is why I’m now here at Beacon! When I found out about this internship through Twitter, I was super excited to apply because I appreciated the dedication to marginalized voices and the attention to quality that this press prides itself on. It’s a great fit for me.
What helps you focus when you’re at work?
The fear of disappointing myself. Admittedly, I get distracted quite often, but if I tell an editor or my supervisor I’m gonna do this thing by a certain time, that doesn’t matter. I have this thing I have to do, and if I procrastinate, that’s on me, but I really don’t wanna give myself anymore reasons to contemplate any further on how much of an imposter I already feel like.
What’s your advice to someone interested in entering the publishing field?
Learn to curb your idealism. Optimism isn’t bad at all, but it’s gotta come with practicality as well, especially when you’re dealing with books that you may feel strongly either way about. I’m actually learning that right now.
Favorite thing about Boston?
I like that I may never have to learn how to drive. I don’t mind walking around the city, because it’s beautiful and exciting, and the MBTA is . . . often a pain, but public transport is my problematic fave. It gets you to where you wanna go. At least, eventually.
What are you reading right now?
I’m reading three things right now. I’m in the middle of rereading Octavia Butler’s Kindred and I’m making it through An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. I’m also listening to Stephen King’s It piece by piece. I should probably pick one so I might actually have a better chance of finishing something sometime soon, but who’s gonna make me? Me?
In an alternate universe, what career would you have?
I’d be an animator. I used to draw a lot when I was younger and wanted to be an artist of some kind. But somewhere along the way l dropped it. I’d like to think there’s some version of me that’s kept at it and made something out of it.
What’s the next queued song on your music player?
“Reverse Faults” by Sampha. On a loop.